Telephone sales to businesses are becoming increasingly important. The stock market has risen and companies are seeing record profits while the consumer continues to struggle. As the advent of caller ID and do not call lists has slowed the growth of B2C telemarketing, telemarketing companies have turned to B2B, or business to business telemarketing. The focus on business is reshaping the telemarketing industry, and telemarketers are becoming more skilled at services such as appointment setting and business lead generation. Emerging market growth has brought down the price of telemarketing services by allowing companies in the developed world to outsource their appointment setting and lead generation services to countries such as India and the Philippines. Your company can capitalize on the changing landscape, but first must know the best process to follow. Whether you are outsourcing to a telemarketing services provider, or handling telemarketing internally, the following steps can help your company achieve success in the B2B telemarketing space.

First, be sure that you, or your telemarketer has a plan of action for each outbound telemarketing campaign. This would include:

1. Define your objective. This means defining what the ideal outcome of the call would be.

2. Prepare a list of questions for your telemarketer to ask the prospect.

3. Have a backup plan or goal should the call not achieve its ideal outcome.

Getting Past the Gatekeeper

The most difficult hurdle in any B2B telemarketing campaign can be getting past the gatekeeper, or secretary. Understanding this, your telemarketer should:

1. Approach the gatekeeper as he would the prospect. Gatekeepers will commonly ask, “what is this regarding?”, and your telemarketer should be prepared with a short elevator pitch that will convey the importance of the call.

2. Get information about the prospect. In many cases, the telemarketer will have limited information on the prospect, so the more he can learn, the better.

3. If asked to leave a message on voice mail, or with the gatekeeper, be sure that it provides a reference to a benefit of returning the call, but doesn’t

talk about products or services.

Speaking With the Decision Maker

The Hook

1. The goal of your telemarketing opening is to create interest so that they will willingly continue the call and allow your telemarketer to ask probing questions. The telemarketer must provide a true benefit of the products or services being offered, or the prospect will not continue the call.

2. Have something of value to say on every telemarketing call. Be sure they’re able to say they are better off after your call than they were before it, even if they don’t make a purchase or set an appointment. It can be helpful to call with ideas you’ve heard from other customers that might be useful to them.

Ask Questions

1. Understand the prospect’s needs before proposing solutions. Otherwise, you may be answering questions the prospect isn’t asking.

2. Always be prepared with rebuttals to likely responses.

3. The answers the prospect gives will help your telemarketer understand the strengths and weaknesses of the call to this point, and should help on this call, as well as the other calls on the telemarketing campaign.

Closing the Sale or Setting the Appointment

1. You should only discuss your product or service after knowing specifically how it will solve the customer’s problems. Then you can customize your remarks specifically and personally for the prospect.

2. If you are setting an appointment for a follow up, get some sort of commitment. If they won’t commit to doing anything, such as reviewing your materials or preparing questions, they likely have no interest.

3. Silence is golden. Your telemarketer should not feel nervous or be intimidated by silence on the other end of the phone. The prospect may be thinking about whether or not to move on to the next step, and jumping in could derail an affirmative response.

The steps above should help ensure that your B2B telemarketing campaigns will achieve, or hopefully exceed your goals.